With training camp just a few weeks away, JetNation.com is going to be breaking down each position on offense and defense to take a look at where the Jets are set, and where they could be in trouble. Today, we look at the tight end position where the ceiling is as high as it has been in years, but there are some question marks.
Chris Herndon: For all the talk of the Jets need for a true number one receiver, teams have shown in recent years that a dominant tight end can be a catalyst on offense for some of the top aerial attacks in the league that can lead to a Super Bowl win. In Chris Herndon, the Jets have a young tight end who flashed as a rookie and showed he has the tools to be an elite player.
Two seasons ago, under a defensive head coach and long-gone offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, Herndon managed to put up 502 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 39 receptions. However, there are lingering concerns regarding Herndon’s injury history. He missed all but one game in 2019 with multiple injuries and missed a handful of contests due to injury in college. The key to Herndon’s success is summed up in three words…just stay healthy.
Herndon can be a weapon on the boundary, in-line or out of the slot. He’s also an above average blocker, meaning he’s more than capable of being an every down player. Should he manage to avoid missing significant time, Herndon’s presence will make life easier on each of Sam Darnold’s targets elsewhere on the field.
Chris Herndon stands to be the Jets biggest difference maker on offense if he can kick the injury bug in 2020. pic.twitter.com/3Sb0jUOxKw
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) July 14, 2020
Ryan Griffin: One of the few bright spots for the Jets on offense in 2019, Griffin was largely invisible over the course of the first six games of the season in which he tallied just 9 receptions for 48 yards and 1 score. In the six games that followed, Griffin became one of Sam Darnold’s most reliable targets, pulling in 24 balls for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns.
However, he would see his season end prematurely after playing just 3 offensive snaps in week 14 against the Miami Dolphins. Injury aside, as was the case with Herndon the year before, Griffin made the most of his opportunities to develop a good degree of chemistry with Sam Darnold. As is the case with Herndon, there will be lingering questions about Griffin’s health, but if he and Herndon can find a way to stay healthy and get on the field at the same time, many of the concerns over the wide receiver position will prove to be overblown.
Trevon Wesco: Drafted to be a player who could dominate as a blocker and do enough as a receiver to keep defenses honest, Trevon Wesco didn’t do much of either over the first half of his rookie season. However, as the year progressed, Wesco’s blocking did as well. In fact, Wesco’s efforts against the Baltimore Ravens showed time and again how big of an impact a quality lead blocker can have.
Le'Veon Bell's best rushing performance of the year came against the Baltimore Ravens on a day when Trevon Wesco may have had has best game as a pro. Several key blocks on the move from Wesco in this one. pic.twitter.com/CcVHncHRFO
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) May 17, 2020
If Wesco continues to grow as a blocker, look for him to get worked in a bit more as a pass catcher to give the Jets a solid contributor who won’t be the most athletic player on the field, but should be able to do some of the dirty work that many observers overlook.
Daniel Brown: A converted college wide receiver, Brown played for Adam Gase in Chicago and joined the Jets and Gase last season. A solid special teams player who contributed little on offense with 7 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Don’t be surprised if he sticks once again in 2020.
Ross Travis: Snagged off waivers from the Colts in December of last year, Travis is a long shot to make the roster but has some attributes that should have Jets fans hoping his development helps him find a role in Green and White at some point. A former basketball player, Travis is a huge target at 6′ 6” 248 lbs but has just 14 catches since entering the league in 2016. Jets front office executive Rex Hogan joined the Jets after two years in Indianapolis, so probably had some in claiming Travis last season.